Discover 4 Incredible Places in Mainland Greece, You Never Knew Existed!
By Helen-Marie Joyce
Although the Greek islands are, more often than not, the protagonists of much content pertaining to Greece and holidaying, there are some non-island locations that are ever so fascinating, they can compete with any of the popular island contenders. These 4 incredible places of mainland Greece will dazzle your senses, and reveal a new perspective of how holidays in Greece can be perceived. If you are an ardent fan of Greek island holidays, then you are strongly urged to read on, and be inspired to discover 4 incredible places in mainland Greece on your next Greek holiday.
Athens: The Enthralling Capital City
An ancient city that carries a ton of history on its shoulders. The birthplace of democracy, where philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates once engaged in rhetoric. With a myriad of landmarks to explore, each will further immerse you into a deeper level of appreciation and awe for the land which set the foundations of civilization. At the same time, Athens is a modern city too. With ancient relics dispersed around, Athens is a vibrant, contemporary and diversely cosmopolitan scene that covers many preferences. It has a posh side that includes many minimal and haute design dive bars, luxury hotels, refined gourmet restaurants and glamorous clubs, as well as a raw side that is way grungier, and a bit more vagrant.
The coexistence of these three elements, the classicism of the ancient heritage and the two contradictory aspects of its contemporary character make for an enthralling amalgam of visuals and experiences. To experience the charm of this riveting contradiction, consider staying at the Andronis Athens, a centrally located boutique hotel that fully embraces Athens’ exceptional personality. The colorful neighborhood of Psyrri is the perfect location for exploring the capital’s sites by foot, amidst a labyrinth of alleys that are brimming with exciting things to see and do.
Porto Heli: The Unpretentious Resort Town
Just a couple hours drive from Athens, in the eastern Peloponnese, you will find Porto Heli, an all time Athenian favourite seaside resort town. Built around a beautiful bay that is often populated by sailing boats, Porto Heli is the go-to place for a few days away from the city’s hype. Having a tradition in seasonal hospitality, its infrastructure allows for it to deliver wonderful holidays for a wide range of travelers. It is a great choice for couples seeking a quick romantic escape; for friends looking for a place that combines beach fun with inland excursions and nightlife; for families that seek a place where their children can play from morning till night while adults can indulge in some must deserved alone time.
For enjoying the best that Porto Heli has to offer, you should stay at its most prized location, right on the seafront of Hinitsa bay. Almost secluded from the rest of Porto Heli, Hinitsa bay boasts a beach all to itself, with soothing sea views of Hinitsa islet and Spetses island in the background, all of which can be exclusively experienced by staying at the four star AKS Hinitsa Bay Hotel. In fact, Spetses, which is the most well known of the Saronic island cluster, can be reached directly from the pier of the hotel within 15 minutes or so via sea taxi.
Mani: The Untamed, Tranquil Hinterland
For those seeking a place of absolute refuge, travel further west into the Peloponnesian peninsula, and into the solace of Inner Mani’s mostly barren wilderness. Here time runs more slowly, the ways of the locals are entirely unaffected by tourism and a traveler’s experience there is as authentic as it gets. Mani is a very special part of Greece, utterly unique not only in Greece but also the world. The ruggedness of the windswept landscapes has shaped its personality both in terms of natural beauty and its culture, for many generations. More verdant towards the coastal villages of the west, or Outer Mani, Inner Mani is bereft of typical pastoral scenes that are replaced by a different kind of allure.
The local architecture pays tribute to the natural appearance, with stone houses and tower buildings blending into the landscape making them hard to discern from afar. Areopolis is one of the most picturesque towns, located on one side of a massive gulf, while on the opposite lies Itilo, a quieter settlement that basks in incredible panoramic views. Petra & Fos Boutique and Spa Hotel is nestled on a prime spot indulging in the vastness of the surrounding environment, offering staggering, 360 views as far as the eye can see.
Meteora: The Mystical, Sacred Summits
Just beyond Trikala, venturing up north to central Greece, there is a place that is undoubtedly the work of pure divinity. Meteora, the mystically empowering boulderous peaks that rise above the ground command awe, appearing to have been erected by some kind of celestial wizardry. It is hard to convey the feeling that fills your entire being when you find yourself amidst this natural wonder. If anything, it redefines your notion of self-importance, making you humble before the magnanimity of creation.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the second astonishing element that makes Meteora a spectacle to behold, is the mind blowing scattered monasteries that are perched atop the beguiling summits. Entering these monasteries as part of a tour is unmissable as you will get to experience an unprecedented sense of reverence that will inundate your soul, regardless of your faith. As for reaching Meteora from Athens, opt for a Meteora day trip from Athens by train and go through untraveled trails of immense scenic beauty totally carefree, admiring the countryside from your window seat, as you head to Kalabaka where you disembark to reach the peaks by car.
Now that you’ve seen what mainland Greece has to offer, I hope that you’ll consider exploring all of the lovely regions this stunning country has to offer.
Helen-Marie Joyce is an SEO and Creative Copywriter. She is a Greek-American who specializes in travel and destination marketing in Greece. Having traveled within Greece and abroad, she has gained many priceless experiences while discovering new cultures with visuals that will remain etched in the mind for years to come, She has a true passion for writing, to express her feelings, thoughts and reflections, as well as convey as vividly as possible, pictures made of words, of the places she considers worth visiting.